Spartans and Darlington share the points in end-to-end game both sides hoped to win

Toby Lees was Spartan's man of the match. Picture: Charlie WaughToby Lees was Spartan's man of the match. Picture: Charlie Waugh
Toby Lees was Spartan's man of the match. Picture: Charlie Waugh
Good Friday’s derby clash against Darlington marked the start of a busy Easter for Blyth Spartans, with two games they were desperate to win to ease their relegation fears.

Manager Graham Fenton had been scathing of his team’s performance after their draw against 10-man Banbury on Saturday, saying his players couldn’t produce quality in the final third, while Darlington manager Alun Armstrong said his side lacked confidence after they were beaten at home by Chester.

The Quakers were hoping for a win to boost their play-off hopes.

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Spartans were out of the blocks smartly, Cedric Main forcing the Quakers keeper into a save in the first minute after being sent through by skipper Nicky Deverdics.

They continued on the front foot and Curtis Round had a shot that went wide after five minutes.

Darlington then had a chance from a corner that Jordan Hickey cleared off the line.

Deverdics almost scored a fabulous goal after 17 minutes, his shot crashing onto the underside of the bar after he flicked the ball over the defender.

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Toby Lees then had to be alert to clear a Quakers cross before the visitors had the ball in the net, the effort being ruled out for offside.

Just before the end of a finely balanced first half, Main fired in a cross after great work down the right, but failed to find a team mate.

The crowd of more than 1,500 then saw Alex Mitchell make a great save just minutes into the second half, stopping a shot at full stretch.

Spartans started to put the visitors under pressure without creating any clear-cut chances.

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Main got through on the Quakers goal only to be denied by their keeper, and, in an end-to-end game, the Quakers came close themselves when a header from Jacob Blyth flashed over the bar.

Will McGowan and JJ O’Donnell both had chances to break the deadlock, McGowan shooting straight at the keeper and O’Donnell’s shot hitting the bar.

Main then created a chance for Hickey, before Mitchell had to be alert from a Darlington counter-attack.

Spartans ended the game with 10 men after Finn Cousin-Dawson was shown two yellow cards in extra time.

They are in action again on Easter Monday (April 10) when they face Farsley Celtic.